The Webster Journal has learned there is a plan in place to search for Chancellor Beth Stroble’s successor.
In a Sept. 15th email sent to faculty and staff and obtained by The Journal, the chair of the university’s board of trustees, Sumit Verma, disclosed a succession plan has been in place since early this year.
Verma’s email seems to indicate two letters recently sent to university leadership – one from the Webster Groves Faculty Senate and another by the Webster Groves Campus Staff Alliance – prompted the board’s response.
Those letters expressed concern regarding the university’s precarious financial situation and rising paychecks for Stroble and President Julian Schuster.
Verma wrote the effort to “identify Webster’s next leader” has been underway over this past year, and responded to specific concerns raised by the Faculty Senate and Staff Alliance.
The university has been under public scrutiny in recent days following a lawsuit concerning its Gateway Campus downtown. Owners of the Gateway Campus building have filed for more than $75,000 in alleged damages after the university failed to pay eight months of rent.
Verma wrote in the email the lawsuit “is misleading, disappointing and surprising,” and that “the University believed that the parties were committed to resolving their differences outside of court.”
In response to the concerns regarding exorbitant and rising pay of Webster’s leadership, the email detailed a “rigorous process” by the board that guides executive pay decisions. This process includes extensive benchmarking studies of global pay rates among other higher education leaders. Stroble and Schuster’s 2021-2022 paychecks put them among the highest-paid university leaders in the St. Louis region.
The email also referenced university growth, noting that this year’s global enrollment of over 13,000 students is Webster’s best enrollment performance since 2018, and that revenue is up this year as a result.
“That progress will continue to require foresight and planning,” Verma wrote, pointing to the plan to find Stroble’s successor as “part of that effort.”
The Journal has reached out to the university’s director of public relations for comment and is awaiting a response.